Residential property successes
Quiros v. Sagamore Realty[Supreme Bronx]Defense Verdict. The then 12 year-old plaintiff claimed to have tripped and fallen as a result of defective lighting beneath a sidewalk bridge located in front of our client’s building that was undergoing renovation.
Apparently, the infant plaintiff was suffering from an as yet undiagnosed condition known as a Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis (SCFE), and claimed that accident resulted in a far more serious injury because of this underlying condition. The child indeed suffered significant injuries to his leg, for which he had already undergone nine of twelve prescribed surgeries in the seven years since the accident. He has been left with a 2-inch discrepancy in the lengths of his legs, and other significant residuals.Efforts to reach a reasonable settlement agreement with plaintiff’s counsel failed and the matter proceeded to a unified trial before a Bronx County jury. At the end of the two-week trial, the jury deliberated for less than one hour before rendering a Defense Verdict on behalf of our client. The jurors agreed with the evidence we presented that the claim of the plaintiff and his two eyewitnesses that the lights beneath the sidewalk bridge had been out for weeks prior to the incident was untrue. The jury concluded that our client was not negligent and did not cause this accident.
Garcia v. Good Home Realty 67A.D.3d, 888 N.Y.S.2d 40, (1st Dept. 2009) Plaintiff alleged that she left her apartment to go to work. She claimed that as she descended an interior stairway in her building at 7:00 am, she was caused to slip and fall due to the stairs being in a wet and slippery condition. Plaintiff suffered a right tibial plateau fracture, requiring surgery. We moved for summary judgment on the ground that there was no notice of the condition to our client, the landlord. In opposition to our motion, plaintiff submitted an affidavit from her brother-in-law, a previously undisclosed witness, who claimed that that approximately 15 minutes before the accident, he observed someone mopping the staircase. The lower court agreed with our argument that such affidavit should be rejected, due to an inexcusable failure to give prior notice of such purported witness, and granted summary judgment to our client. Plaintiff appealed, but the Appellate Division adopted all of our arguments and affirmed the dismissal of the complaint.
Summary Judgment & Dispositive Motions
Darkwa v. 2690 Webb, LLC. [Supreme Bronx] Plaintiff slipped and fell on the front steps of his apartment building at 1:15 am on snow and ice that had accumulated during a snowstorm that evening. Plaintiff claimed that there was no handrail on the front steps where he fell, and an expert engineer alleged that such absence violated the applicable building code. Plaintiff claimed that his fall was due to the absence of such handrail. We retained an expert engineer for the defense, who established that the building code alleged to have been violated was inapplicable, because the particular building was a “Tenement” that was subject to a different code. Our motion for summary judgment, to which we attached a sworn affidavit from the defense engineer, was granted by the court.
Rivera v. Bilynn Realty Corp., [Supreme Bronx] Plaintiff alleged that she slipped and fell because the marble tread of the interior stairs she was descending was worn and uneven. We prepared a summary judgment motion on behalf of the landlord, presenting irrefutable proof that the building was built in 1921 and was only subject to the Tenement Housing Construction Law, which did not mandate a coefficient of friction that plaintiff’s expert engineer maintained was required. The court granted our summary judgment motion.
Ahearn v. P&E Realty [Supreme Bronx] The morbidly obese plaintiff claimed that she fell in the building where she lived because her fingers became stuck between the handrail and the wall, as she ascended an interior staircase. Plaintiff claimed that there was insufficient finger clearance, in violation of the applicable building code, and she offered an engineering expert in support of her claim. We obtained certified documentary proof that our client’s building was classified as a “Tenement,” not subject to the terms of the building code provision cited by the plaintiff’s expert. The court rejected plaintiff’s expert opinion in its entirety, and granted our summary judgment motion.
Stone v. SMA E. 202 Property LLC [Supreme Bronx] Plaintiff alleged that she slipped and fell on an interior staircase of the building in which she resides. Plaintiff alleged a failure to clean the staircase, but could not identify what she claimed caused her to slip, other than to allege that the steps were always slippery. The court granted our summary judgment motion on behalf of the landlord, holding that the plaintiff’s claim that the steps were inherently slippery was insufficient as a matter of law.
Allstate Insurance Co., a/s/o Usher v. 1245 Realty, et al. [Supreme Nassau] Plaintiff alleged that inadequate security permitted unidentified third-party trespassers to enter the premises and ignite a fire (found by the FDNY to be arson) in an elevator shaft of our client’s residential building. Plaintiff also alleged that the building owner was negligent because the smoke detectors in the building had malfunctioned, allowing the fire in the elevator shaft to spread and cause property damage in the subject apartment. The court agreed with our argument that plaintiff failed to establish sufficient evidence that the building owner was responsible for the criminal acts of unknown third parties, or that the allegedly malfunctioning smoke detectors caused the property damage complained of.
Kuhm v. PWB Management, et al.[Supreme Bronx]Summary Judgment Granted.Plaintiff claimed to have tripped and fallen on a defect located on what appeared to be a street that was no longer in use in Bronx County. Plaintiff sued our client, alleging that it owned the adjacent land, and therefore, was responsible for the defect by virtue of the NYC Administrative Code. Plaintiff also sued the City of New York, which was successful in obtaining a dismissal of all claims against it by means of a summary judgment motion. We likewise moved for summary judgment, and the court directed a framed issue hearing with regard to the responsibility for the area where the plaintiff claimed to have fallen. At the hearing, we presented the testimony of an engineering expert we had retained, who testified on the basis of official records he reviewed establishing that the area where the plaintiff fell was not within a sidewalk area for which our client could be held responsible. Following the hearing, the court granted our summary judgment motion, dismissing all claims against our client.
Encarnacion v. Ultra Holdings[Supreme Bronx]Summary Judgment Granted.The plaintiff claimed to have tripped and fallen on the public sidewalk adjacent to our client’s residential building because of a broken area of concrete located around a gas valve embedded in the sidewalk. The plaintiff sued not only our client, as the owner of the adjacent property, but also the tenant restaurant and Con Edison. Upon completion of pretrial discovery, our motion for summary judgment was granted on behalf of our client, on the basis of the fact that our client did not have exclusive dominion or control over the gas valve that the utility had embedded in the sidewalk.
Perez v. Sussex Apartments[Supreme Queens]Summary Judgment Granted. The plaintiff claimed to have tripped and fallen over the remnant of a metal signpost sticking up from a public sidewalk adjacent to our client’s multiple residence. We moved for summary judgment, presenting an affidavit of our client to the effect that the signpost had not been erected by or on behalf of the client. We cited numerous cases for the proposition that a landowner is not responsible for such signpost remnant unless it can be proven that the defect was actually created by the landowner. The court rejected plaintiff’s assertion that questions of fact remained, and instead, dismissed all claims against our client.